Beware of website clutter!

Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Just as homeowners hoping to sell need to de-clutter their homes, professionals hoping to attract new clients should de-clutter their websites.

Some months ago I read that visitors are turned off by “sliders.” I agree – trying to read a header that keeps changing is an annoyance. Those are just clutter.clutter

Today I ran across a different kind of clutter – in an offer to chat.

I have an aversion to those chat features anyway.  Every time I’ve tried using one all I got were canned, pre-scripted answers to my questions. There was no real person there. On top of that, it took a long, long time to see their reply.

But that’s OK – if marketers want to have a chat function and if it works for them, more power to them.

But it shouldn’t get in the way of reading the content on the page.

Today an agent contacted me with an idea for a new prospecting letter set. She was interested in appealing to bankruptcy attorneys for referrals to their clients who wanted/needed to sell their homes.

This is a topic I hadn’t thought about, so I decided to do a little research. Google pointed me to a page which may have had good information, but I’ll never know.

On the left side of the page there was a bubble with the word “Chat” inside. It covered up much of the copy on that side. Then a big “Chat” box popped up in the middle. I could push it down, but NOT far enough to hit the “no thanks” link before it slid back where to I couldn't see it. After trying several times, I accidentally hit the OK link.

When it started to load I closed it, thinking “That’s what I should have done in the first place.” But no, that wasn’t entirely effective either. Now instead of a big chat box in the middle, it had a smaller one on the right side of the page – where it effectively hid the copy.

I could read the middle of each line… as if that helped without the beginning and end of each line.

You know my next move – I was “Outa there!”

So be careful. If you have any kind of a pop-up or slide-in box on your site, make sure people can get rid of it at will – and that it doesn’t come back to cover up the words you want them to read.

 Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers 03/30/2017 05:54 AM
  2. Debbie Reynolds 03/30/2017 04:43 PM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
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Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

I find clutter in pop ups and ads that constantly flash and move. I get off the page as fast as I can.  The above the fold has to be clutter free and easy to navigate.

Mar 29, 2017 08:53 PM #9
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Agree Marte Cliff ... The site should have easy navigation, no pesky chat pop ups that distract like black flies on a hunting expedition for information. Stock the shelves with information to drill down in but keep it simple, functional and no intrusive chat function in your face to drive away customers.

Mar 30, 2017 03:20 AM #10
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I can't agree more. I hate those pop-up boxes that constantly get in the way. And they force me to move right off that webpage.

Mar 30, 2017 03:31 AM #11
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

Those are certainly annoying.  However in this day in age, one click and you are off to another site.  Hopefully, the owner of the site is looking at analytics and understand visitors are leaving early in a visit.

Mar 30, 2017 05:31 AM #12
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Yes, I'm doing some updating.  I am deleting the slider (but this was only seen on 1.5% of visits anyway.  In process of doing a bit more decluttering, too on the sidebar.

Mar 30, 2017 05:38 AM #13
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ

Marte Cliff "If you have any kind of a pop-up or slide-in box on your site, make sure people can get rid of it at will".

Right on target - and - re-blog!

Mar 30, 2017 05:54 AM #14
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc. - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

All I can write about this feature is 'perplexing' and it does cause me to click out and move on, as well. Great post!

Mar 30, 2017 06:06 AM #15
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Too clever for their own good.  I agree.  All the gizmos and do-das doesn't help.  A well thought out and laid out website is a wonderful thing these days.

Mar 30, 2017 06:08 AM #16
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Some people pick up every tech tip and add it to their website.

You are correct, it just produces clutter and will cause the consumer to leave.

Not good.

Mar 30, 2017 08:18 AM #17
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


There are some wise words here about the value of the user experience. That IS what it's all about, isn't it?  I think today's Internet users are an impatient group who won't hang around very long if they can't figure out very quickly how to find what they want, or are otherwise stymied in their quest to get to the information they are seeking. I am not a fan of the chat box (but have used them a couple of times when seeking tech assistance).


Mar 30, 2017 09:39 AM #18
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

One of the dynamics of "clutter" is how it sneaks up on you and then its there!

Mar 30, 2017 09:55 AM #19
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

I have to agree it's just plain annoying. You've been there for 2 seconds & the annoyance box pops up & asks you for help. Just for grins I say yes & no one ever comes on the little box. Why have it if it's not manned?

Mar 30, 2017 11:13 AM #20
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Marte - You're right - those are an unnecessary distraction and dirve away more pople than they attract. There's nothing better than a nice clean design with clearly marked - and relevant - choices for finding what is being looked for.

Mar 30, 2017 12:46 PM #21
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I hate those pop up windows on websites.  Drive me nuts.  Our MLS has one that pops up at least twenty times while I'm inputting a listing. 

Mar 30, 2017 04:24 PM #22
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


When a website is cluttered people click off the site fast.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Mar 30, 2017 09:01 PM #23
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Congratulations on a well earned feature.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Mar 30, 2017 09:03 PM #24
Shahar Hillel
Augusta Financial Inc. - Stevenson Ranch, CA
Mortgage Consultant, Loan Officer.

Marte hello
I agree. Creating a website that produce results is very important.

Mar 31, 2017 12:44 AM #25
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Good post, Matt. Some web sites have so many gadgets and pop-ups that I refuse to try and navigate my way through. Have a great day!

Mar 31, 2017 05:47 AM #26
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good Morning Marte - depending upon the location of a slide it is ok with me but I hate those pop ups.

Mar 31, 2017 06:26 AM #27
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Marte Cliff - yes, we have clutter everywhere. While doing a spring cleaning, we should include this task - of cleaning Website Clutter, too!

(Seriously, I do not like pop-up chat buttons! Some of them do not even respond so why to keep it there?)

Apr 02, 2017 08:13 PM #28
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